Mathematics: The Most Minunderstood Subject


News: Mathematics: The Most Minunderstood Subject

  1. Mathematics: The Most Minunderstood Subject (6 messages)

    Dr. Robert H. Lewis, Fordham University, wrote up a paper called "Mathematics: The Most Misunderstood Subject." It explains the relevance of math education and learning for regular people: now I feel bad that I failed trigonometry.

    The paper is a bit of a read, because he takes a lot of time to tell analogies as stories. Parables, he calls them. They are pretty informative and honest though - including where he points out that most of us will never use the quadratic equation.

    His main point is that math is a way to learn how to think in certain useful ways, learning the process of analysis and deduction. It's not the goal, but a path, and learning that path means that you can work your way through to a goal well, no matter what the goal is.

    It's worth cherry-picking the paper at the very least, if only to get some handy ways to explain the need for math in every day life, as well as giving you a reason to tell your kids to get more into math in school. The paper has a pretty heavy US-centric view (he says the lack of math is why the US is falling behind in areas) but it's still a fascinating read.

    And I really do feel bad about failing trig in school - I went back and learned it all on my own, I promise. (Or at least, all the stuff I had time for.)

    Threaded Messages (6)

  2. I hated math[ Go to top ]

    At least in The Netherlands (probably in other states as well), CS at the University grew out of the Math education. So around 1985 or so, CS was still 80% Math. In 1993 at least till 1998 it was still a full 50% pure mathematics in the Bachelor phase (this was called different in The Netherlands back then, but it's comparable).

    I believe that the percentage of Math vs CS subjects as now further dropped.

    Back in University I really hated math though. Funnily enough I did quite well with them, but hated them nevertheless. There were so much additional CS courses I didn't have time to take because the math ones were obligatory.

  3. I love the typo in the title.  I can't tell if it's a subtle math joke or just bad editorial control.  Either way makes me giggle.

  4. I typoed. I try to cut and paste alot but sometimes it's faster to just retype it, and I'm not that good as a typist.

  5. Editorial Control...[ Go to top ]

    Although Richard asserts it's a typo, I actually thought it was somewhat clever and left it in. I too wasn't sure if it was intentional or not, but it is indeed amusing.

  6. Which is probably why adding Mathematics or Arithmetics and Domain-specific libraries or standards (JSRs) to Java has been misunderstood by almost everybody, even otherwise respected EC Members, too ;-/

  7. And I really do feel bad about failing trig in school - I went back and learned it all on my own, I promise. (Or at least, all the stuff I had time for.)


    How can you fail trig?